Tiago Forte’s Framework for Organizing Digital Information

An entrepreneur friend shared with me that he uses the methods of Tiago Forte to organize all the information he consumes. He suggested Forte’s book Building a Second Brain: A Proven Method to Organize Your Digital Life and Unlock Your Creative Potential. It sounded interesting, so I ordered it.

I haven’t finished the book yet, but one method it mentions has already caught my attention. Forte calls it the PARA method, and it’s his flexible approach to managing digital information on various platforms. The idea is to create four top-level folders to manage all incoming information you consume. Here are the main parts of the method:

  • Projects  – Things you’re currently working on in the short-term. Ideally, you have a goal in mind for each project. Think implementing a payroll system or hiring a contractor.
  • Areas – Responsibilities you must manage. They’re ongoing and essential to you. Think managing your finances or direct reports.
  • Resources – Topics you’re interested in but not actively working on. Think cooking, fashion, or customer discovery.
  • Archives – Inactive items from the above three categories.

An important part of this method is that information is grouped based on how actionable it is, which makes sense to me. Another thing I like about this system is that nothing is lost; everything can be retrieved in the future if it’s needed. The archive folder serves as a repository.

I’ll continue learning about the PARA system, but so far it seems very flexible, and it isn’t complex, which is attractive to me.

If you’re interested in learning more, you can read Forte’s blog post about PARA.